September 6, 2012

Q and A with Peggy Blair on CBC Books

In the run-up to this year’s Scotiabank Giller Prize gala on October 30, we’ll be posting Q&As with the longlisted authors to gain insight into their work and find out what books they admire. We kick off our series with a bonus: an interview with this year’s Readers’ Choice winner, Peggy Blair. [more…].

April 11, 2012

49th Shelf: Penguin Author Peggy Blair on rejection, persistence and how Ian Rankin changed her life

Julie Wilson: Prior to your book deal with Penguin, you were already blogging extensively about the publication process. I wonder, now that your book is out and you’ve amassed first hand experience, what would you say are the three things you’ve learned about how the industry works. [more…]

March 28, 2012: Open Book Toronto

Ashliegh Gale: On Publishing with Peggy Blair

Before author Peggy Blair got the gumption to write The Beggar’s Opera, she spent several years working through the residential school claims process, listening to stories about native children being sexually abused. [more….]


Ottawa Magazine (April, 2012 ed.)

Mark Bourrie: Whodunnit and How?

A stroke of good luck led Peggy Blair to an agent with great connections. In the wake of her successful foray into the world of fiction, the mystery writer offers an insider’s look into the trials and tribulations of getting a first book published. [more…]


February 25, 2012: Sydney Morning Herald

Drinks are on you, Peggy

IAN RANKIN likes to help writers as well. Take the case of Canadian writer Peggy Blair. She had been trying to get published for ages and entered her first novel, The Beggar’s Opera, into several awards, including the debut Dagger Award of Britain’s Crime Writers Association. She was amazed it got a shortlisting and went to Harrogate for the crime fest where the winners were announced. She didn’t win and went for a drink afterwards and bumped into Rankin. [more…]


February 15, 2012

Zoomer Magazine

Five Questions for Author Peggy Blair

After 30-plus years as a lawyer —acting as a criminal defence lawyer, a Crown prosecutor and serving on the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal — Peggy Blair spins her flair for cross-examination into writing a crime novel. The Beggar’s Opera. [more…]


January 19, 2011: CBC Radio: Ottawa Morning

 One hundred and fifty-six rejections would squash even the most resilient optimist’s spirit. But we’ll hear from one Ottawa author who soldiered on … and eventually landed a book deal. (8.53 minutes. Featured Audios: ‘Finally Published Author.’ )


December 11, 2010

Winnipeg Free Press

Penguin Canada has acquired a Cuban-Canadian police procedural, The Beggar’s Opera, by Peggy Blair, one of Canada’s leading aboriginal lawyers and a former Crown prosecutor, the publisher has announced.

Blair, an Ottawa resident, was shortlisted for the 2010 Debut Dagger at the Harrogate Crime Festival in England.

A former member of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, she was a senior adjudicator in the Indian Residential Schools Dispute Resolution Process, before being appointed deputy chief adjudicator in 2007. She returned to private practice in 2008.


December 7, 2010

For Immediate Release: Penguin Canada acquires Cuban/Canadian police procedural The Beggar’s Opera 

Penguin Canada has acquired The Beggar’s Opera, a Cuban/Canadian police procedural by Peggy Blair, one of Canada’s leading Aboriginal lawyers and a former Crown prosecutor. Blair was discovered by UK agent Peter Robinson (who represents Ian Rankin and Denise Mina) after being shortlisted for the 2010 Debut Dagger at the Harrogate Crime Festival, and the novel was acquired from Canadian agent Anne McDermid in a two-book deal for World English rights. Rights to the series have been sold to Rowolt in Germany, Cappelen in Norway, and Unieboek in Holland.   

The Beggar’s Opera is a brilliantly plotted and deeply imagined crime novel that evokes the crumbling beauty of Old Havana, as well as its bureaucracy and political corruption.The character at the heart of the novel is the hardworking Inspector of the Major Crimes Unit of the Cuban National Revolutionary Police Force, a man who is suffering from the same dementia that killed his grandmother, a form of dementia that makes him see ghosts – the ghosts of the victims of unsolved murders. When the abused body of a young Cuban boy is discovered at a popular tourist spot, the evidence points the Inspector to a Canadian police officer on vacation. 

Said commissioning editor Adrienne Kerr: “The Beggar’s Opera is a novel with a very strong political and social conscience. In its finest moments, the novel is much more than a thrilling detective story; it is an eloquent call to arms to eliminate human trafficking in impoverished nations, it is an indictment of the devastating American embargo, and it is a pointed criticism of Canadian vacationers who flock to Cuban resorts with little interest or knowledge of the local culture.”

A former member of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, Peggy Blair was a Senior Adjudicator in the Indian Residential Schools Dispute Resolution Process between 2003 and 2006. In 2007, she was appointed by the court as a Deputy Chief Adjudicator, responsible for supervising adjudicators in Eastern Canada and for developing policies to implement a hearing process for 12,000 victims claiming sexual and physical abuse at Indian residential schools. She returned to private practice in November 2008. While maintaining her law practice, Blair worked for the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples as a policy advisor on land claims and dispute resolution issues. She was also the Chief Federal Negotiator in self-government negotiations involving 27 First Nation communities in northern Ontario (1997–1998).  Along with her LLB, Blair has a Masters and a Doctorate in Law and is named in Canada’s Who’s Who.

Penguin is one of Canada’s pre-eminent publishers of literary, thought-provoking fiction and non-fiction, and the publisher of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy, which has sold over 1.6 million copies in Canada.   

For further information, please contact:

Yvonne Hunter
Vice President, Publicity and Marketing
Penguin Group (Canada)
416-928-2409 Direct
416-471-4973 Mobile

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